Oakland Councilmember Loren Taylor District Six

Oakland City Council: Councilmember Loren Taylor Leads Passage Of Homeless Encampment Policy

Oakland – On Tuesday, October 20, 2020, the Oakland City Council unanimously passed its first Encampment Management Policy clarifying how it will ensure health and safety for those living in and around homeless encampments. As Chair of the Council’s Life Enrichment Committee, Councilmember Loren Taylor, guided the 8-month process for developing the policy which included broad engagement of diverse community stakeholders, including housed and unhoused residents, business and nonprofit leaders, public health professionals and city employees who have worked closely with the unhoused community. “I am grateful to the more than 1200 Oakland community members who contributed their ideas and perspectives throughout this process, ensuring that we live up to our values of compassion and equity while ensuring standards of health and safety that protect all Oaklanders,” Councilmember Taylor said.

The goal of the policy, presented by the City’s Homelessness Administrator Daryel Dunston, is to reduce the negative health and safety impacts associated with homeless encampments – for both unhoused and housed residents. Even though an administrative policy has existed since 2017, it was not formally reviewed nor adopted by the Council, leading many housed and unhoused Oakland residents to complain about the lack of transparency, inconsistent application of the policy, and mixed messages coming from different departments of the City.

As acknowledged by the over 150 public speakers during last night’s council meeting, the status quo has not worked, on the contrary it has allowed an increase in public health and safety issues including excessive fire hazards, confirmed cases of infectious diseases, excessive vermin vector hazards, excessive amounts of waste/garbage/debris, and pervasive criminal activities in and around encampments. “Residents of Oakland have been asking us to lead on this seemingly intractable issue and we finally have. I am grateful to all of my Council colleagues for their contributions to this policy and unanimous support to move forward in response to overwhelming community demand for action,” said Taylor.

Key aspects of the new policy include:

1. Identification of high and low sensitivity areas based on the likelihood of health and safety impacts, and it defines how the City will address unsafe conditions or activities while respecting the rights and needs of our unsheltered neighbors

2. Clarification of public health and safety standards that will be upheld for the well-being of encampment residents and their neighbors alike

3. Clarification of how we will work as hard as we can to provide health and hygiene supports, services, outreach and offers of shelter

The Encampment Management Policy was unanimously passed by the Council and the policy will be reviewed in four months.

Councilmember Loren Taylor represents Oakland Council District 6 and serves as the Chair of the Oakland City Council’s Life Enrichment Committee, as well as a Commissioner on the Youth Ventures Joint Powers Authority and the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority, and the Association of Bay Area Governments Executive Committee.

Oakland News Now Recent Posts

Oakland News Online Links From Oakland's Only News Aggregator Blog

Oakland News Now Archives

Oakland News Now - SF Bay Area, East Bay, California, World